Amanda Moohen grew up on her families beef grazing property on Queensland’s Darling Downs, cattle have always held the interest of Amanda, but it wasn’t until her time in Armidale at Albies college that her eyes were opening to the potential of the Beef industry.
From an Albies college girl walking to morning classes in her pyjamas, to being scouted by the Australian Agricultural Company (AACo) for a new managerial role, Amanda Moohen’s career is an impressive one.
Growing up on a beef grazing property on Queensland’s Darling Downs, cattle have always held the interest of Amanda.
But it wasn’t until studying Ag Science at university that she recognised that a career in agriculture can be quite difficult to get into, especially as a woman.
“For us, it was very much like you struggle to get a job,” Moohen said.
“At uni they were like, be careful, choose your career path very carefully as you leave because when I was coming in, it was probably 30 percent women 70 percent men.”
And, initially, Amanda found this warning to be partially true as she took her first job in the office of a tannery where she realised that she was working at the wrong end of the supply chain.
“It was 100 percent a male-dominated industry, there was 100 men and five of us [women] in the office.”
Yet Amanda prides herself in recognising the value and opportunities in every sector of agriculture.
“It took me into all different facets of HR, safety, visas and PR and helping bring workers over,” she said.
“And it wasn’t really until through that I had that thought: ‘oh my gosh, I need to get back into ag and that’s where we stumbled across the ad for Wonga Plains Feedlot and, as they say, the rest is history.”
It was while she was at Wonga Plains that Amanda began to see the results of good mentorship on her own career.
“I’m so grateful for Bryce Camm believing me and pushing me,” she said, “and we went through a lot there, you know, we went through my full career progression within feedlotting, from weighbridge admin to fill-up manager.”
Whilst at Wonga Plains, Amanda entered the Beef Connections program where she was mentored by Kay Wilson.
“She was an outside perspective, to take the blinkers off and see from a different angle, to learn, and to actually see different opportunities where you keep going, you know, it may be a hurdle in the road, but you can always get around.”
This experience was so crucial to her growth that she started her own non-for-profit networking organisation, Women of Lot Feeding (WOLF), shortly afterwards.
She did this because she wanted other women to have the same chance in the beef industry that she did.
“I wanted to actually meet people,” she said, “I didn’t want to rock the boat, I didn’t want to create policies and procedures, I just want to network and meet women.”
“And we all honestly have the same issues. Every, every, job you have, no matter where you are, you’re always going to have the same issues.”
“So why can’t we talk about it out loud? Because we’d actually feel better.”
“Once you talk about something, you can understand someone else’s going through the same situation and half the time someone’s really been through it two years ago who’s got the most amazing advice to help you.”
It is these conversations that Amanda believes hold the key to getting new people, both male and female, into the beef industry.